Drone light shows have become one step short of commonplace, flying all over the world this summer into the shapes of Earth at the recent Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony, forming the likeness of Baby Yoda at a show promoting Disney+ or accompanying fireworks at the Dollywood theme park’s Summer Celebration. But here’s a relatively fresh take on the drone light show: turning drones into a flying QR code.
That’s exactly what happened at this summer’s Rolling Loud music festival, where musician Travis Scott had drones fly in the air during his set. But rather than fly in sync with a drone light show, per se, they operated as a flying QR code.
Hold your phone up to photograph the drones in the air, and the QR code took audiences to a pre-save link for Scott’s latest single, which otherwise doesn’t yet have an official release date.
“Everyone knows Travis Scott is one of the best performers in the game, but on Saturday night he took it to another level,” Rolling Loud co-founder and co-CEO Tariq Cherif said in a statement. “Dropping new music and giving fans direct access to the song through a drone installation is unheard of and MilkMoney and Travis made it happen,”
While Scott may be the first musician to tease new music by way of a drone light show, this is not actually the first time drones have served as a flying QR code. Earlier this year, a drone show put on by video-streaming company Bilibili to celebrate the 1-year anniversary of a Japanese role-playing game called Princess Connect! used 1,500 drones to illuminate a giant QR code linking to Bilibili’s website.
And prior to that, drones have been used as a form of advertising, most commonly as a sort of flying blimp. Companies like PromoDrone have hung banners on drones and flown them down beaches or promenades to catch the attention of sunbathers and shoppers. PromoDrone’s clients have included Grey Goose Vodka, Ralphs Grocery, San Diego Parks Foundation, The Century Club, and more, and its drones have appeared at settings such as golf tournaments, private birthday parties, and company events.
Of course, Scott’s performance did have some aspect of drone light showiness included as well. Besides forming a flying QR code, the drones also formed a giant Cactus Jack logo in the sky.
By the way, Scott was the only one who got to have drones at his show. Drones are otherwise listed as a banned item for the Rolling Loud music festival, alongside other banned items including hula hoops, misters, totems, selfie sticks and narcissists.